Gee, they fired the guy behind Apple Maps? We’re shocked. Shocked.
Richard Williamson, one of several Senior Directors for iOS Platform Services, was the guy behind Apple Maps. To be fair, especially since he just got pinkslipped, he had an enormously difficult job to do in a limited amount of time, and didn’t volunteer for the job. He was assigned it after Apple and Google got into a still not-entirely-explained snit that may have been as much about operating systems and ego as it was about money.
Then he had to replace a system that Google has spent more than a decade building and refining by cobbling together data from companies such as Open Street and Tom Tom, and bolting together tech from three different companies Apple had bought, and do it in less than a year.
In other words, Apple basically expected Williamson to pull Google Maps out of his alimentary canal, and then fired him when he pulled out MapQuest instead. The really sucky thing is that he was fired not because he negatively affected the iPhone, but basically because it was a PR disaster:
Though the problems with Maps didn’t seem to stop consumers from buying Apple’s latest iPhone 5 handset, the issues were severe enough that Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology. Cook went so far as to recommend alternative apps to use while Apple worked to improve its data.
Meanwhile, rival Google is reportedly putting the “finishing touches” on its own Maps replacement, which would include turn-by-turn navigation and its own 3D map views.
There’s no denying that Apple Maps is the worst thing to happen to the First World since Netflix jacked its rates, but we’re not really sure being told to slap together a Frankenapp by the higher ups and delivering Boris Karloff instead of Scarlett Johanssen is really a firing offense. Maybe a “Seven Minutes in Heaven with the gassy coworker we’ve just fed cabbage” offense, though.